Programme implementation agreement signed for the Active Citizens Fund in Malta

The programme implementation agreement for the Active Citizens Fund in Malta was signed on 6 February 2019. 

Photo credit: Adam Rostkowski

Key information about the programme

  • The programme is operated by:Solidarity Overseas Service (SOS) Malta
  • The programme's objective is:Civil society and active citizenship strengthened and vulnerable groups empowered 
  • The programme funding amounts to €0.7 million and is entirely funded through the EEA Grants. 

Why is the programme needed? 

The Active Citizens Fund in Malta reflects a firm recognition of the civil society sector’s role as a fundamental building block of democratic governance, human rights and social cohesion.  Civil society organisations (CSOs) mobilise participation in civic life and play a key role in promoting active citizen engagement in decision-making at local, national and European levels. CSOs tackle social problems arising from inequality and discrimination. They contribute to the activation and empowerment of disadvantaged people and minority groups, by helping them overcome barriers to participation and ensure that their voices are heard. 

As one of the smallest countries in Europe, Malta’s third sector is limited in size and with regards to available funding opportunities, especially when it comes to supporting CSOs to strengthen their advocacy and their role in democratic processes. Many CSOs have limited resources and are dependent on funding tied to delivery of outputs in a specific field, rather than allowing investment in the development of the civil society sector. This is affecting the sustainability and ability of CSOs to carry out their work more holistically and be active in more than just one priority area, for example not only service provision but also carrying out awareness raising campaigns or advocacy work. This is also preventing CSOs from forging partnerships and having a wider societal impact, and encouraging citizens to actively participate in civic life. 

What will the programme achieve and who are the beneficiaries?  

The Active Citizens Fund in Malta will work towards mitigating and overcoming challenges and needs under the programme’s areas of support. Particular emphasis is put on strengthening the capacity and sustainability of the civil society sector by providing an online capacity building training to organisations and offering support to applicants and project promoters. Outreach to under-served target groups shall be ensured through the use of online tools designed to be inclusive for small organisations and informal groups, continuous support to project promoters throughout implementation, inducing on financial management, and a focus on advocating for the rights of under-served groups rather service provision.   The programme will contribute to empowering and equipping citizens and civil society with the necessary skills to advocate for good governance and rule of law. Asylum-seekers and migrants is one of the target groups of the programme, and youth inclusion is a horizontal priority.  

The Active Citizens Fund in Malta covers the following four areas of support: (1) Democracy, active citizenship, good governance and transparency; (2) Human rights and equal treatment through combating any discrimination on the grounds of racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, gender, disability, age, sexual orientation or gender identity; (3) Social justice and inclusion of vulnerable groups; and (4) Environment and climate change.  

How will the programme strengthen bilateral relations?  

The programme will contribute to strengthening bilateral relations between CSOs and other entities in Malta and in the Donor States, in line with the overall objectives of the Grants. Bilateral cooperation shall be mutually beneficial, based on a strategic and long-term perspective, and leveraging the respective strengths of entities in the Donor States and in Malta. Donor partnership projects will be facilitated through activities in conjunction with the launch of the call for proposals and encouraged in the call text.  

Availability of funding through open calls 

In addition to one pre-defined project, the funding in this programme will be made available through the following open call: 

  • Call 1: Q3 2019 

Precise timing of the call may be subject to change.  

More information can also be found on the Fund Operator’s website.